Have you ever felt this way?
But your new whitepaper or eBook is missing that certain something. Your copy reads very well, but it LOOKS boring; it does not have that sparkling new feeling that will draw readers in...
You realize that you need a professional graphic designer to create your vision.
But where can you find the perfect match to work with you? How do you know you found the one that will get your vision and is able to put it into action? One that delivers fast and is reliable?
To help you through this, we asked our graphic designer Kathy Smyth (she designed The Complete Beginner's Guide to Inbound Marketing, the Visual Guide to Professional LinkedIn Company Pages and the 17 SEO Myths You Can Let Go Off in 2014 for us) the what questions you should ask to make sure that you hire the right one. These are Kathy's 13 suggested questions:
1) Tell me about yourself.
Finding a little about their background and experience will go a long way to forming a lasting relationship.
2) How long have you been in business?
Although a graphic designer with a lot of experience will cost more money initially, you can save on cost in the long run. A less experienced designer may take several tries to create what you are envisioning, which will cost you more money, as most designers charge by the hour.
3) Can I see your design portfolio? Have you worked on this type of project before?
Most graphic designers will be happy to show you their previous work, and will tailor their portfolio to showcase similar jobs to the one you are interviewing them for.
4) Do you have a specialty?
Make sure the designer has experience in the medium that you are planning to use. For example, a designer who works strictly in print won’t necessarily be the best person to hire for your Inbound Marketing campaign.
5) Ask for references.
Getting in touch with references of the graphic designer will allow you to find out the good and the bad. For example, ask questions like "What is his/her strong suit?" or 'Was there any problems in the project? How did the designer handle this?" Even if there was a problem, learning how it was handled gives you great insight.
6) What is your turnaround time?
Talk about your budget and schedule. Most projects go through several rounds of revisions, so plan for these in your timeline. Also, ask how many rounds of revisions are included in the original cost. Negotiate for two revisions. A designer will generally charge by the hour after the second round of revisions.
7) Who does the actual work?
Does the designer work alone, or have several employees? Who does the concept work?
8) Do you require a contract?
A contract is an excellent idea to protect all parties.
9) What are your payment terms?
Many designers require 30% at the time the contract is signed, 30% upon delivery of the ideas (or comps) and the remainder upon completion of the project. It is best to know up front what to expect.
10) What do I need to provide?
The client should provide a clear, detailed description of what they would like to accomplish in order for the designer to successfully deliver their design. What is your objective; who is your target audience and how will they be reached (web/print handout/mail); what are your thoughts on look/feel (conservative/clean/funky/elegant); what should your audience do after viewing the piece.
For the client who already has a logo, they will most likely be asked to provide the logo in vector format (as an eps or Adobe Illustrator file), and various other relevant information: copy, photographs, etc.
11) Who owns the design once it’s finished and paid for?
Does the graphic designer keep the copyright and just license reproductions rights to you or do you get the copyright? This is something you need to discuss. Also, make sure you get digital copies of the work they have done for you, in case you want to make changes in the future. You should ask for your logo design in various file formats (especially vector) for use in all your marketing applications.
12) Who will handle the printing, if applicable?
There are many, many factors in ensuring your design prints correctly. Make sure your designer has the proper knowledge to correctly hand off the files to a printer. Some designers prefer to prepare the file and have the clients hire the printer themselves.
13) How much will this cost?
Finally, discuss the cost. The more experience the designer has, the higher their rate. You will pay between $50 and $100 per hour for a good designer. Agencies are considerably higher. Your cost will also depend on the complexity of your project.
About Kathy Smyth
Kathy has more than 15 years of graphic design experience. She focuses mainly on capabilities brochures, e-newsletters, publication design, branding, logos, brochures, collateral, direct mail, graphic design, newsletters, product literature, and sales promotion. She designed the layout and cover of the Compete Beginner's Guide to Inbound Marketing and other eBooks in our resource library.